It's fair to say the Cheltenham Festival's newest race, the Mrs Paddy Power Mares Chase has caused plenty of controversy but that will all be forgotten when the tapes rise and someone has to win it! So who better than Andrew Mount to mark our cards!
.Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase – (Cheltenham, Friday, March 19)
KEY STATS & TRENDS
The inaugural running of this 2m4f Grade 2 contest, so there are no previous stats or trends specific to this race to analyse.
Ran at this meeting in 2019, finishing a respectable 16-1 sixth of 14 behind Roksana in the Mares’ Hurdle on what was only her second start for Willie Mullins.
Since then, her record reads 1111221 (5-8), with the first defeat by a nose and the other when three lengths behind stablemate Allaho in a Grade 2 at Thurles last month. She was a massive 79 lengths clear of the third-placed Annamix and has since gone one better in Listed company at Naas..
Three from three over fences including a narrow Grade 1 success from Pencilfulloflead at Limerick on Boxing Day -the pair pulling 16 lengths clear of the third - and she followed that with a smooth 12-length win in a mares Grade 2 contest at Thurles.
However, trainer Willie Mullins nominated a Grade 2 mares’ race at Limerick on March 14 as her intended target, so it’s doubtful that she’ll line up here.
Has a great record in small fields, her Listed Warwick win on February 3rd taking her record in fields of nine or fewer runners to 215411111 (6-9), improving to 11111 (5-5) over fences. Soft or heavy going would be ideal and she’d be respected if she got it.
PUT THE KETTLE ON
Landed the Arkle at this meeting last year and made it three from three at Cheltenham when making a winning reappearance in the Grade 2 Shloer Chase in November. All those runs took place at two miles on the Old Course and it would be somewhat surprising if connections opted for this longer trip on the New Course, rather than take in the Champion Chase.
DAME DE COMPAGNIE
Proved unsuited by the right-handed track in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles at Sandown last time, jumping out to her left and unseating. Throw out her disappointing run in a first-time hood and her record left-handed for Nicky Henderson stands at 115111 (5-6), including a comfortable chase debut success at Ayr. She won the Coral Cup at this meeting last year.
Had no answer to Elimay at Naas last time but will be happier back up in trip from two miles. She won the JLT novices’ chase at this meeting in 2018 but has only scored once from her last eight starts.
A stablemate of Elimay, started as the 4-6 favourite for a Grade 3 at Fairyhouse last time but trailed home last of five. She fell at the first in her only other start this term and is hard to recommend.
MARES CHASE - BIG-RACE VERDICT
Willie Mullins has dominated the mares-only hurdle races at this meeting and his runners are the obvious starting point for this 2m4f chase, with ELIMAY the obvious one. Colreevy would be respected if running here instead of at Limerick while Annie Mc looks best of the British-trained runners.
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